Head of VTA: Tax Increase or Many County Transportation Projects Likely to be Axed

Dear Editor,
Based on the article titled

VTA Set to Put Another BART Sales Tax on Ballot,

The Dispatch readers might think that the sole project to
benefit from the passage of the proposed quarter-cent sales tax is
BART to Silicon Valley.
Dear Editor,

Based on the article titled “VTA Set to Put Another BART Sales Tax on Ballot,” The Dispatch readers might think that the sole project to benefit from the passage of the proposed quarter-cent sales tax is BART to Silicon Valley.

In fact, 63 percent of the capital funding generated through a combination of the 2000 Measure A half-cent sales tax and the proposed quarter-cent sales tax would go to fund other projects. Those projects include $100 million in funding for Caltrain service improvements in South County and $171 million in funding for service improvements elsewhere along the Caltrain corridor; $125 million for bus rapid transit services; $370 million in local road, county expressway and bicycle and pedestrian improvements; $22 million for Altamont Commuter Express upgrades; nearly $50.5 million in increased senior and disabled transit programs as well as funding for bus and light rail improvements.

Failing to pass an additional quarter-cent sales tax will have significant impacts. With a funding gap of $1.6 billion, the ultimate result would be much less funding across all of the 2000 Measure A program projects, not just the planned BART extension, which could potentially be impacted. In addition no funding would be available for local road repair, bicycle and pedestrian projects and increased senior and disabled services, and funding for Caltrain, ACE and bus and light rail improvements would have to be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether.

VTA’s Board of Directors is expected to review the expenditure plan for the 2000 Measure A program, which would assume a new quarter-cent sales tax, at its December meeting. Over the next month, VTA staff will continue to work in partnership with a cross-section of county elected officials, civic leaders and residents to finalize a comprehensive funding scenario that will fulfill the promises of the 2000 Measure A Program, as well as address other identified needs.

Michael Burns, General Manager

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Leave your comments